House committee votes to spend 100-million dollars for Obama Presidential Library

Apr 30, 2014

A legislative committee Wednesday voted to authorize spending a hundred million dollars to lure Barack Obama's presidential library to Chicago for the second time. IPR'S Amanda Vinicky reports.

Before he became President, Barack Obama served as an Illinois state, and U.S. senator. He worked as a community organizer in Chicago, and taught at the University of Chicago law school. All reasons he might locate his presidential library and museum in Illinois. But New York and Hawaii are also in the running.

Speaker of the Illinois House Michael Madigan says Illinois has to compete. And to help persuade the President to choose Chicago, Madigan wants the state to help fund the project.

"It would become an international tourist attraction. You can't think of a site in Illinois - maybe the Lincoln library - but everybody would be hard-pressed to find another site in Illinois that would equal the attractiveness of an Obama library and museum in Illinois, preferably in the city of Chicago," says Madigan.

But Republicans say Illinois can't afford the expense, and like other modern presidents, Obama could rely on private donations.

The 7 to 4 vote was a redo. Republicans demanded a new vote after they say Democrats bent the rules, pushing it through a hearing at which no Republicans were present. The measure now goes to the House floor.